Mary Ann Liebert, Publishers announced that Zelig Eshhar, Ph.D., and Carl H. June, M.D., Ph.D., are co-recipients of the company’s Pioneer Award, which was presented in recognition of their work in lentiviral gene therapy clinical trials and for their leadership and contributions in engineering T-cells capable of targeting tumors with antibody-like specificity through the development of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs).

Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal published by the company, is commemorating its 25th anniversary by bestowing this honor on the leading Pioneers in the field of cell and gene therapy selected by a blue ribbon panel and publishing a Pioneer Perspective by the award recipients. The Perspectives by Dr. Eshhar and Dr. June are available free on the Human Gene Therapy website until December 11, 2014.

In his Pioneer Perspective entitled “From the Mouse Cage to Human Therapy: A Personal Perspective of the Emergence of T-bodies/Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells,” Dr. Eshhar, from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Sourasky Medical Center, chronicles his team’s groundbreaking contributions to the development of the CAR T-cell immunotherapeutic approach to treating cancer.

Dr. June, from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, has led one of the clinical groups that has taken the CAR therapeutic strategy from the laboratory to the patients' bedside, pioneering the use of CD19-specific CAR T-cells to treat patients with leukemia. In his Pioneer Perspective, “Toward Synthetic Biology with Engineered T Cells: A Long Journey Just Begun,” Dr. June looks back on his long, multifaceted career and describes how he combined his knowledge and research on immunology, cancer, and HIV to develop successful T-cell based immunotherapies.

“These two extraordinary scientists made seminal contributions at key steps of the journey from bench to bedside for CAR T-cells,” says James M. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of Human Gene Therapy, and director of the gene therapy program, department of pathology and laboratory medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

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